Kemp: The success of electric vehicles in Georgia is driven by more than subsidies

To hear Biden The administration says the inflation cap is driving generational investments in clean energy and electric vehicles around the world we

Georgia governor. Brian Kempwho leads a nation where multibillion-dollar foreign investments in these areas have become routine, is skeptical that $369 billion in subsidies are what actually moves the needle.

In a World Affairs Council Atlanta The governor noted that the debate is about the country’s global competitiveness Rivian And Hyundai It announced its plants in Georgia ahead of the law’s incentives unveiling in August 2022.

“This market was coming here anyway,” Mr. Kemp said during a conversation with the council president. Ricky Bevington He praised Georgia’s award-winning economic development department, infrastructure investments and low-tax environment as key considerations for automakers, suppliers and clean energy companies investing in the state.

“When you think about electric vehicles and mandates on electric vehicles, it really screws up the entire market,” the Republican governor said in a wide-ranging conversation over lunch at the conference. St. Regis in Buckhead. I wish the president had never done that. When you try to force people to do something, half the country won’t like it. “We saw that with the vaccine.”

At the heart of the governor’s comments is a disconnect between Democrats and Republicans — and between congressional leaders and state officials — over whether market forces or industrial policy are (or should be) the primary driver of such transformative investments.

Companies like Kyocellsa Korea-based solar panel manufacturer with a factory in Dalton And a new one has just started producing panels CartersvilleThey tried to thread this political needle.

The company announced a $2.5 billion expansion with factories in Dalton and Cartersville Only after the IRA passed were solar credits explicitly granted in the law written by the Democratic U.S. Senator. Jon Ossoff By helping its made-in-the-USA boards compete China. In a press release, the company also paid tribute to Mr. Kemp and Georgia

Other investors have found themselves stuck in the middle, as happened when… Hyundai And Come here found that their electric vehicles were originally excluded from the IRA’s clean energy tax incentives, even as they were building electric vehicle production lines in Georgia and Alabama.

Governor Brian Kemp speaks with World Affairs Council President Ricky Bevington before taking audience questions.

During the conversation, Mr. Kemp asserted that such oversight amounted to pandering to union-backed factories, prompting him to send a letter to each of Georgia’s Democratic senators urging them to cut into foreign automakers in the process of investing billions of dollars here.

“They voted for the bill anyway without asking us to treat everyone fairly: either we give tax breaks to everyone or we don’t give them to anyone,” Kemp said.

This symbolizes the way Georgia supports companies that place their bets on the state, he said, touting its decade-long ranking as the No. 1 state for business in Choose a location magazine.

“If you’re here, no matter where you live, we’re going to treat you like a Georgia-based company, and we’re going to fight for you, and I think we have a great track record of doing that,” he said.

For example, he participated in another intervention on behalf of a Korean company, this time with the president Biden More than a year before the IRA passed. when International Trade Commission Ruling against SK batterywhich has already put up a $2.6 billion factory in Georgia, is in its trade dispute with… LG ChemMr. Kemp appealed to the President, who could override the ITC’s decision.

“I called the president one day and said: ‘Look, you can make this decision.’ I ran overseas and brought jobs back to the USA – and this was long before the IRA. I said: ‘If you don’t support SK on this, these jobs will go to China.

The companies later reached an agreement to avoid closing the plant in Georgia. Mr. Ossoff claimed he helped mediate it.

China EV, Support, Security Concerns

When asked about the meaning of Biden’s decision to impose a 100% tariff on Chinese electric vehicles this week, Kemp took a less political tack, except for making one crack initially.

“I think this means Trump will do it 150 percent,” he said, to laughter from the audience.

He then explained how Chinese automakers have outpaced other countries in battery and electric vehicle technology using subsidies, a concern also expressed by the Biden administration.

“I’m a free market person, but it also has to be fair to everyone, and I think when you’re dealing with China that’s not fair,” Kemp said.

On a trip to China last month, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen The United States pushed China to address its “excess industrial capacity,” an old problem that has become a rallying cry between the Republican and Democratic parties.

While visiting Georgia the week before her trip, Ms. Yellen stopped by a solar cell manufacturer Soneva To promote how the IRA will help the long-dormant company revive its U.S. manufacturing as a counterweight to China’s dominance of the solar supply chain.

Mr. Kemp appeared open to these arguments, recalling the vulnerabilities in the supply chain highlighted by the pandemic.

“We definitely have to find ways to diversify our supply chain. It will be difficult for Americans, and it may cost us more, but I remember during COVID-19, the only place you could get a mask or a surgical gown or a respirator was from China, and they definitely took us There are cleaners. “We can’t be in this situation,” Mr. Kemp said.

However, Kemp expressed doubt that tariffs and other interventions would be enough, saying Chinese companies would likely find a workaround by building factories in China. Mexico.

Instead, he suggested, companies like Hyundai should show a more sustainable path forward. Amid a nationwide decline in electric vehicle sales, the automaker is focusing on making a hybrid vehicle itself MetaPlant close Savannah, which it previously said would be for battery electric vehicles. But Mr. Kemp said the company is also working to speed up construction to start production early and take market share from competitors.

“They’re going to meet the market where it is, and they’re not going back. Their philosophy is ‘Look, we’ve got to figure out how to compete with China,’ and they feel that with the automation and the logistics gains they’ll get by being here, they can do that. We’ll see how “It will be done.”

Electric Mobility Centre

With Mrs. Bevington’s encouragement, Mr. Kemp put the vision behind his vision Electric Mobility and Innovation Alliancean initiative to make Georgia a world leader in a sector that it sees as going beyond automobiles.

Quote Archer AviationInternational plans to create 1,000 jobs building flying taxis known as electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles (eVTOLs) at a factory in CovingtonIn addition to a small multi-purpose vehicle that you can test drive Car club in AugustaWhere that company and its competition Easy-Go It manufactures 80 percent of the golf carts sold worldwide.

Mr Kemp said the practicality of cars and power tools should drive their adoption, not mandates that risk alienating users who are open to them.

“They may have a big diesel truck that they pull the boat out on the lake with, but they use an electric trolling motor. They play golf on the weekends, and they drive an electric golf cart. I worked last month… on our house with a little battery-powered chainsaw — it’s great “You can see where the uses will be there.” “And if you drive one of these electric cars – we’ve been there Porsche The other day – he will throw your head back.

The governor said Georgia’s efforts to attract data centers and advanced manufacturing plants have helped add clean nuclear energy capacity in Vogel plantWhich suggests the state is now looking at a repeat of this despite the possibility of PTSD Georgia Power On the cost overruns and missed deadlines associated with the first reactors built in the United States more than 30 years ago.

In the debate, the governor explained his reasons behind vetoing SB 368, which would have barred foreign citizens from making political contributions, and HB 1192, which would have ended the tax break for data center construction.

Regarding the first, he said it would have duplicated a federal law while essentially requiring executives from foreign companies to register as lobbyists, which he called an unintended consequence of the bill’s language.

Regarding the latter, his decision was less about substance and more about the sudden interruption of the data center incentive on July 1, saying it was unfair to those with projects in the works.

He also explained how the state uses its university system and technical colleges Quick start Workforce training program to outperform other states and deliver on its promise to investors who need thousands of workers – a key priority as the state continues to achieve record-breaking job creation and capital investment.

He highlighted the state’s Georgia Match program, which enables high school seniors to score transcripts online and get a letter in the mail listing the Georgia colleges and universities where they were automatically accepted.

“Make sure they understand this is not junk mail,” Mr. Kemp said. “It’s their ticket to economic opportunity in our state.”

He asked World Affairs Council members and supporters to continue to support the Department of Economic Development and elected officials, telling Georgia’s story around the world as he did at the World Economic Forum in 2016. Davos, SwitzerlandOver the past two years – against the advice of some in his party.

Mr. Kemp said he has “gotten hell” from Republicans who worry he will “get screwed.” George SorosOr “You’re being brainwashed over there.”

However, for him, the trip was to promote the “Georgian Way” globally and meet with a large number of foreign executives, all in one place, both inside and outside the confines of the secret complex. gf castings, The company, which the governor visited in Switzerland during this year’s trip, just announced a $184 million investment in Augusta.

“It’s been very productive,” he said. “The amount of CEOs and companies we were actually dealing with, companies we were talking to about doing business, or just getting people’s attention, was incredible. It probably saved us, I’d bet, two or three international flights.”

Ultimately, he said, attracting more foreign investment is about creating opportunities for Georgians, especially in rural areas that the governor has sought to revitalize. And with the track record the country has built so far, companies around the world don’t have to take him at his word.

“We’ll give them our opinions and our story. But at the end of the day, we can say, ‘Go talk to him.’ Gulf StreamOr you can talk to him coca cola or UPS or Delta or home Depot, You can ask them what it’s like to have a corporate headquarters in the state or what manufacturing in the state looks like. Our best salespeople are our existing companies.

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